Cosgray retires as coach of Lebanon baseball

May 24—LEBANON — Rick Cosgray poured his heart and soul into the Lebanon baseball program for the past 25 years.

Now it is someone else's turn to take over the program.

Cosgray announced his retirement from coaching following the Tigers' sectional loss on Wednesday night, citing his desire to spend more time with his family.

"My family situation was the big reason," Cosgray said. "My son (Drew) just graduated from DePauw and is starting a job down in Jacksonsville, Fla., and my daughter (Whitney) has been teaching and coaching in Florida and is coming back to teach and coach in Crawfordsville. My wife (Shannon) has been extremely supportive over the last 25 years and after talking with them, we felt like it was the right to step away."

Whitney and Drew are both Lebanon grads and mutli-sport athletes for the Tigers.

Cosgray said because of his coaching responsibilities, he had to miss some games and events growing up. Now that they are starting their careers, he wants to be able to be there for their big moments.

"When Whitney decided to come back to Indiana, that was a big reason (for the decision)," Cosgray said. "She was the head softball coach in Florida and wants to continue to coach now. I want to have the time to go watch her coach. I was limited in seeing her high school career due to coaching, and then with the last five years with her in Florida, we have only been able to see a few games. It is really trying to open up time to be able to spend quality time with my family and not feel like I can't give 100% to the baseball program."

Lebanon Athletic Director Phil Levine said he is grateful for everything that Cosgray has done for the Lebanon baseball program.

"It has been a pleasure and honor to work with coach over the last 16 of his 25 years," Levine said. "Rick has always put his players first and provided them with the positive character traits that education based athletic programs provide. Rick is one of a kind who has had an outstanding coaching career and made a positive impact on his many players, coaches, and the Lebanon community. He will be missed by all. I will cherish the many memories he and his teams have created for myself and others and wish him and his family the very best. I look forward to our continued friendship and remind him once a Tiger Always a Tiger!"

Levine said one of the things that stands out about Cosgray's tenure is the respect he received from the other coaches around the state, and how he handled adverse situations.

"Rick has a special passion for the game of baseball, and this has been displayed with his dedication and commitment to the Lebanon baseball program," Levine said. "Rick is well respected with the high school baseball community and has received numerous well-deserved recognition and honors. I have witnessed him embrace the challenges of coaching both his son and daughter, handling difficult situations, facing adversity and success, and weathering the Covid storm. He has done all of this with grace and understanding while always representing Lebanon with class. His players did much of the same as well as the many different members of his coaching staff over the years."

Cosgray started at Lebanon in the 1999-2000 school year.

He had previous coaching stops at Mishawaka, Elkhart Central and Jay County coaching football and basketball.

But Lebanon became home and he is grateful for being able to spend more than two decades coaching and teaching at the school.

"Lebanon was a perfect fit for what my career goals have been," Cosgray said. "First and foremost, I love my teaching position at the middle school and being able to coach baseball and some basketball — it's exactly what I wanted to do. To be able to fulfill a dream in a community like Lebanon and Lebanon schools — it was a perfect fit."

Cosgray won 326 games during his 25 year career, winning three sectional titles and three Sagamore Conference titles.

He said those championships stand out amongst all the games he has coached, but also some of the cool venues the Tigers have had the chance to play in over the years.

"You get into coaching, you do it for the kids, but some of the results — especially at the varsity level, are important too," Cosgray said. "Some of the sectional championships and conference championships stand out. We were able to play at some special venues over the years — Victory Field and Purdue — and getting wins there will always be special memories. We have been able to play in some of the best venues in the state."

Cosgray, a multi-time district coach of the year, said that he is also proud of the amount of players that have had the opportunities to play at the next level.

Two of his former players — Travis Herrin and Reid Schaller — were drafted by MLB teams, while several others have gone on to play at the collegiate level.

"You put a lot of time and effort into it, and ultimately those player that are able to move on — they have a special talent to do that — but being able to coach, guide and teach them the best you can is rewarding," he said. "It has been special to see some of the players move on and try to fulfill their dreams."

And as he concludes his time as Lebanon's baseball coach, Cosgray said he is extremely thankful for everyone who supported the program and his family along the way.

"I just want to thank the administration for the tremendous support over the years. The parents have been very supportive of me during my time here. Then of course all the players that have come and gone," Cosgray said. "Just the combination of all them I am very grateful for. It was a great fit for my family, for my kids to go through Lebanon schools and get their diplomas here and for my wife and I — it was just a tremendous fit for us."

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.